Reggae Boyz look to bow out with win
Nothing to play for, except pride. That's the task facing the Reggae Boyz who will close off their failed 2018 World Cup qualification campaign with a final CONCACAF Group B game against Haiti at the National Stadium this evening starting at 8.30.
Under fire Winfried Schaefer, hopes to end the campaign with a consolation win as a gesture of goodwill to the home fans.
"Sorry for not qualifying for the final round," he told STAR Sports after Sunday's training session at the National Stadium. "We want to give supporters three points in last game" he said.
Jamaica bowed out of contention at the semi-final stage of the CONCACAF qualifiers following their 2-0 defeat in Panama last Friday. The result leaves Jamaica second from bottom in the four team group on four points with one round of matches to go. Costa Rica sit atop the standings with 13 points, followed by Panama with 10. Haiti are last on one.
Football pundits locally are calling for the Schaefer's head, but he remains defiant.
"We can't live in the past. We have to change for the future. We have to change after tomorrow's game. We want new players on the bench, I want to see other players for the future," he said.
"We want to build a new team. We want a local national team, they will have to play football (regularly), maybe in the parishes in Hanover, St James, Clarendon," he declared.
Meanwhile, defender Adriann Mariappa expects a difficult game from the Haitians, but says the team is determined to finish on a high.
"Three points is the only way we can finish the campaign, we have to come on Tuesday and get a win. We know it's going to be a tough game as I am sure Haiti are going to come here thinking the same thing ... so we need to prepare and get the win.
However, the Watford player says a low fan turnout wouldn't surprise him.
"I don't know (if we will get a good crowd), I've played in the stadium when it's jam-packed and I've played in the stadium when it's empty, but at the end of the day the fans are disappointed and angry, but there is no one disappointed as us."
Veteran midfielder Jobi McAnuff was also mindful of how the fans might react because of the team's failure to qualify, however, he says they are prepared to face the consequences.
"At the end of the day whatever job you are doing you have to perform and you have to deliver and we haven't done that. In life when you don't deliver you have to stand up and take whatever comes your way. "We hope they (fans) can bare with us, stay with us, and continue to support us," he said.